So following yesterday’s fast, the choice of what to express my gratitude for today was an easy one. I have a new-found appreciation of anything that passes my lips. This morning’s cup of tea was relished. I did not read a book, begin some writing or browse Facebook whilst drinking it – I simply stopped and drank slowly, savouring every sip. I did not realise how important a part of my morning that had become but this morning, I honoured it with my full attention, not taking it for granted or relegating it to a secondary activity, in the background of doing something else. I made time to make breakfast, even though time was short, so I could take it with me to enjoy on the journey. Whilst my husband (who unusually I spent an hour car journey with today – a different story for a different day) would testify that I was not entirely silent throughout my consumption of it, I was certainly more aware of pleasure I felt as I ate.
I was not going to be able to get lunch from the school canteen today, and whereas I would normally in that case have simply gone without any midday sustenance, today I made a mental note and ensured that I made time to purchase a sandwich in preparation for lunchtime. I had experienced the pangs of hunger yesterday and had no desire to revisit them today. This made me stop and again consider those who had no choice but to be hungry. I vowed to donate to the local food bank, and I also made a mental note to find time this autumn to re-launch a community project I had led a couple of years ago – Halloween for Hunger. It had slipped by the wayside in the busy-ness and distractions of last year, but I realised that this lapse is unacceptable – those who are hungry deserve help and now I realise first hand the impact of deprivation of food, even on a small scale, short term basis, I feel a strong obligation to cease with the excuses and to actually do something.
My evening meal was late due to impromptu, but welcome, visitors – almost as late as last night’s iftar. But instead of grumbling inwardly about the delay in sitting down for my main meal of the day, I found myself feeling thankful for the last one I’d had, for the fact that it was so recent – a mere few hours ago. As I took my first mouthful I drew all my attention towards its taste, its texture, the sensations in my body as the new intake of energy began to be processed.
Fasting has provided me with a mindfulness that I had never manifested towards food and drink. The cup of tea a colleague made me at the end of a long day was received as not simply refreshment, but as love in action. And I am pleased to report that I did eventually get a piece of that homemade shortbread! 🙂